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Psychol Aging. 2002 Mar;17(1):161-8.

Longitudinal analysis of midlife generativity, intergenerational roles, and caregiving.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, Smith College, Northampton, Massachusetts 01063, USA.


Items from the California Adult Q-Sort (CAQ) were used to assess psychosocial generativity (E. H. Erikson, 1950) in a sample of educated women at midlife. CAQ scores measured at age 43 demonstrated convergent validity with an inventory measure of generativity assessed at age 53. According to other longitudinal analyses, women who attained a generative stance at age 43 reported greater investment 10 years later in intergenerational roles (e.g., daughter, mother) but not nonintergenerational ones (e.g., friend, sister). Generative women also reported less subjective burden in caring for aging parents and more knowledge about community elder care programs. Further evidence suggests that participants felt embedded in a reciprocal caregiving network in which they themselves were the recipients of care.

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